§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
My Lords, this is a measure the object of which I have had the honour to explain to your Lordships on former occasions. I have to apologise for naming the House of Commons, but your Lordships may in Committee strike out those words, and if the Bill should be in Committee in another place, the words might be re-instated. It is directed especially against the practice of speakers in Parliament of speaking against time according to orders, similar to the orders given by the owner of a racehorse to his jockey, which is a practice unworthy of Parliament, and one which greatly impedes public business. I would urge upon your Lordships that, at least, this Bill can do no harm. We have many instances of assemblies in which there is a time limit, and it is always found that those who address the meeting conform to the time prescribed, with very few exceptions. If your Lordships doubt the necessity for such a measure, I need only refer you to the pages of Hansard for 1887–8 to prove the existence of the evil against which the Bill is directed. I am afraid anything I could say would have very little influence with your Lordships, but I have determined to do my duty in a straightforward way; and, without wearying your Lordships with a long speech, I now move the Second Reading.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(Lord Denman.)
THE PRIME MINISTER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (The Marquess of) SALISBURY
My Lords, I do not think the time has arrived for, at any rate, this House to take up such a measure as this. I certainly have not noticed here the evil of undue prolixity to which the noble Lord has referred. If ever that evil arises, and business should get into the position in which we are told it is in another place, I should be glad to accept the assistance of my noble Friend in coping with the difficulty. I think if the noble Lord would go over the way and propose his measure there, it might have some beneficial effect; but, so far as this House is concerned, I feel I shall be carrying your Lordships' consciousness with me when I move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out the word "now," and add at the end of the Motion "this day six months."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question whether the word "now" stand part of the Motion, resolved in the negative.
§ Bill to be read 2a this day six months.